What you can do on winter holidays
It’s the most wonderful time of the year in Michigan: the winter holidays. The whole state is alive with silver bells, holiday music, Christmas carols, Christmas decor, and other winter wonders.
There are so many exciting holiday attractions in Michigan from Traverse City to downtown Detroit; from Marquette to southwest Michigan. Michigan is alive with holiday fun! From outdoor play and activity areas to bustling Christmas markets for holiday shopping, you’ll find something for everyone.
For this year we have selected these locations for you:
Olde World Canterbury Village
When you’re ready to pick up those last-minute items on your list in one of the most festive atmospheres imaginable, make the journey to Olde World Canterbury Village. This Lake Orion shopping center is like something out of a fairy tale, with countless holiday lights and a variety of welcoming stores that fully embrace the spirit of the season. There’s even a shop called "Always Christmas," which is just as festive as it sounds!
Location: 2369 Joslyn Ct, Lake Orion, MI 48360
Holiday Nights at Greenfield Village
Step back in time and appreciate an old-world Christmas at this one-of-a-kind event, which can be found within the Henry Ford Museum. On select nights through the end of the month, Michiganders of all ages will gather to try some classic ice skating, admire costumed carolers, and marvel at beautiful holiday decor.
Location: 20900 Oakwood Blvd, Dearborn, MI 48124
Rosa Parks Circle
Venture to downtown Grand Rapids for an incredible Christmas time adventure under the stars. Rosa Parks Circle offers one of the most beautiful ice-skating setting imaginable, complete with countless Christmas lights and a bustling atmosphere that would even put a smile on Scrooge’s face. What’s not to love? Visit Grand Rapid's official tourism website to get all the event details.
Location: 135 Monroe Center St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Wild Lights at the Detroit Zoo
If you love visiting the Zoo during summertime, you’ll appreciate it just as much when colder months roll around! Each winter, the Detroit Zoo comes to life with beautiful wildlife-themed holiday lights and decor during Wild Lights. Stroll through a Christmas wonderland as you learn more about the animals housed at the zoo.
Location: 8450 W 10 Mile Rd, Royal Oak, MI 48067
What is a Holiday Scam?
The Holiday season is upon us. Unfortunately, that also means Holiday scams are on the rise, as cybercriminals seek to steal money, personal information, and identities from holiday shoppers. Consumers have lost over $500 million as a result of fraud since the pandemic began nearly two years ago, with online purchases comprising the majority of reported instances.
Holiday scams refer to fraudulent activities that occur when criminals prey upon unwary shoppers during the holiday season. The goal of a Holiday scam is to wrest sensitive personal information, such as credit card details or identity documents.
Once thieves obtain your private information, they can make fraudulent online transactions with your stolen credit card information, attempt to access your bank accounts, or commit identity theft.
The Holidays are a busy time of year, making it the ideal season for con artists to prey on unsuspecting consumers.
The top five Scams of the Holidays
Last year was an unprecedented year for online holiday shopping, with consumers spending a record-breaking $188 billion. Retailers can expect to see fully loaded digital shopping carts again as e-commerce continues to thrive this holiday season — and with that in mind, we must also be prepared to outsmart scammers.
Here are five of the most common scams you may encounter this season!
1. Online Shopping Fraud
Online shopping fraud is one of the most common types of fraud during the holidays, and it can be difficult to spot. In this type of scam, a person pretends to be a legitimate online retailer and attempts to collect payment for merchandise that they never deliver.
This can be done through a fake website or by using a real online retailer’s name and logo without their permission. To avoid becoming a victim of online shopping fraud, only shop at websites that you know and trust.
2. Holiday Delivery Scams
Another scam to watch out for is fake delivery notifications. You may get an email or text message saying that your package has been delivered, but when you check, it’s nowhere to be found. Or, you may get a notification that your package has been delayed, and then be asked to click on a link to track its status. But this link could lead you to a phishing site that steals your personal information.
If you’re expecting a package this holiday season, make sure you know who the sender is and that the tracking information is legitimate before clicking on any links. And if something seems too good to be true (like a free product in exchange for a review), it probably is!
3. Travel Scams
In the fake vacation rental scam, someone may list a vacation rental (usually a condo or house) online, usually at a significantly discounted rate. They may even use fake photos or stolen ones from another listing. Once you’ve sent them money for the rental, they disappear and you’re left without a place to stay.
To avoid this scam, only book vacation rentals through reputable websites or agencies, and be sure to do your research on the property before sending any money.
4. WhatsApp Scams
WhatsApp scams are becoming increasingly common, especially during the holiday season. Here are some of the most common WhatsApp scams and how to avoid them:
Fake contests and giveaways
Beware of fake contests and giveaways that promise free gifts or prizes. Many of these scams originate from WhatsApp groups, so be careful before joining any groups or taking part in any conversations.
Phishing attacks via WhatsApp are on the rise, so be cautious of any links or attachments you receive from unknown contacts. If you’re unsure about a link, don’t click on it – instead, go to the website directly by typing in the URL yourself.
Some malicious websites will send you an automated message through WhatsApp, urging you to visit their site. Don’t click on any links in these messages, as they could lead to malware-infected websites that could infect your device with viruses or ransomware.
Bogus offers and deals
Be wary of any offers or deals that seem too good to be true – chances are, they probably are! If you’re not sure about an offer, do some research online or contact the company directly to confirm its legitimacy before making any decisions.
5. Charity Scams
In the case of charity scams, cybercriminals create fake websites or email campaigns that claim to be raising money for a legitimate charity. They may also contact people directly, posing as a representative of the charity.
The best way to avoid falling victim to a charity scam is to do your research before donating. Make sure you know where the money is going and how it will be used. Don’t donate to charities that you’re not familiar with, and don’t give personal information or financial information to anyone who contacts you purporting to be from a charity.
Who is Rabih Hamawi?
Attorney & Counselor
Rabih Hamawi is a principal at the Law Office of Rabih Hamawi, P.C. and focuses his practice on representing policyholders in fire, property damage, and insurance-coverage disputes against insurance companies and in errors-and-omissions cases against insurance agents. He may be reached at (248) 905-1133.